Did we share more data during Open Access Week?

To celebrate Open Access Week, 19– 25 October, data.ncl through Figshare ran a competition to encourage data to be uploaded and shared. We promoted Open Access Week on this blog, NUConnect, social media and in schools to help promote data.ncl and the merits of data sharing.

Anil Yildiz, Research Associate, in the School of Engineering has long embraced open data and has shared several datasets and supporting scripts from his research projects in data.ncl. The idea of a competition piqued his interest as an incentive for researchers to share data but also switched on his inquisitive nature as he wondered if it leads to an increase in uploads.

Figshare has an API that allows anyone to access a wide range of data and after we chatted Anil took an interest in the following four item types: figures; media; dataset; and software. He ran a query through the API between 06/07/2020 and 26/10/2020 on those four item types.

Number of figures, media, datasets and software uploaded to Figshare between 06/07/2020 and 26/07/2020

The graph above shows that the variation in uploads is not significant between the weeks examined but there were slight increases in media and software during open access week. Taking a deeper look into when these items are uploaded it indicated that Thursday are the most common day for researchers to archive and share data. And unsurprisingly weekends were found to be the quietest days.   


Open Access Week 2020 didn’t result in an upload frenzy. However, the sharing of these four item types is consistent across the timeframe analysed and Figshare is one of many data repositories that researchers can use to openly share their data. The bigger picture is that open research data is of growing importance as we look to increase transparency, reproducibility and reuse of data produced by our researchers. Data.ncl can archive all four item types and we are keen to see an increase in these deposits across all research data repositories. When data is archived elsewhere you can create a record of it in data.ncl to help increase the impact and visibility of the data.

At Newcastle this is the first time we have promoted the competition so it will take time for Open Access Week and data sharing to be on the radar of our researchers. It is interesting that Thursday is a particularly popular day to share data so perhaps we need a Thor inspired sharing initiative – data sharers assemble, anyone?

This blog was written in collaboration with Anil and his original blog Open Access Data: What do we Share can be found here: https://www.anilyildiz.info/blog/2020-10-26-blog-8. And a review of the data findings is available on data.ncl.

Celebrating Open Research Data with a DATA.NCL Upload Competition

For Open Access Week (October 19-25), Figshare is running a research data upload competition, offering prizes for participating institutions who upload the most items and researchers who upload during that week.

Data.ncl, Newcastle’s Research Data Repository, is powered by Figshare so all data uploaders – regardless of whether we are a winning institution – will have a chance to win one of five £100 Amazon gift vouchers, distributed virtually. Figshare will also be making a $500 donation to Resourcing Racial Justice, an organization that supports individuals and communities working towards racial justice.

Items must be uploaded to data.ncl between 12am on 19th October until 11:59pm on 25th October. Where possible we would encourage the data to be openly available, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be published if you require more time to prepare the dataset.

This is a little incentive to find some time during Open Access Week to prepare and share that dataset you been sitting on or meaning to archive. Some of the key benefits of sharing data through data.ncl are:

  • The data is assigned a persistent identifier (DOI) and a citation provided, so the data can be formally attributed
  • The persistent identifier helps to make the data discoverable through Google and other search engines to maximise visibility and impact of the research
  • Data can be located and accessed by you, without having to actively manage it

Since data.ncl was launched in April 2019, Newcastle researchers and PGRs have archived and shared 486 datasets, which have been viewed nearly 270,000 times across the world. ​Datasets have also been downloaded over 50,000 times and cited by researchers who have went on to reuse the data.

Data.ncl is not just for data but also code/ software and methodology so you can archive and share on the research process as well as any data outputs. There is guidance on how to archive data in data.ncl and you can get in touch with the Research Data Service on support in planning, managing and sharing research data at rdm@ncl.ac.uk

Happy uploading!